Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils

Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, Adelaide Labille-Guiard
Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art; use the zoom or download icons under the image.

Though I’m not quite as taken with her work as I am with the paintings of her contemporary, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, I do admire Labille-Guiard’s skill with paint, and with chalk drawing.

At the time she and Vigée Le Brun were members of the Academy, they were two of only four women admitted at any one time.

This is the kind of highly refined self-portrait that artists used as a promotion piece, demonstrating their skill as a portrait painter to prospective patrons.

In this case, however, it may have been more, a statement that women artists should have a place in the French Royal Academy that was not limited to a token representation. She certainly makes a good case for it.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils”

  1. It was customary in many artist’s self-portraits to show themselves ‘dressed for success,’ although to our modern eyes she looks a bit ridiculous in this as an outfit in which to paint. But as a friend of mine has pointed out, neither would one dress like a paint-spattered pauper if trying to secure royal patronage or academy approval.

    1. Yes, you see a lot of formal self-portraits in which the artist is dressed in clothing you would never want to get paint on. I think the image of the “bohemian artist” as something to be cultured is a 20th century phenomenon.